The Bible says in Mark 14:1-2, “After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.” In Mark chapter 13 Jesus spoke about His Second Coming, but there could not be a Second Coming until after Jesus left the earth in the First Coming. Of course, the means by which Jesus left the earth was first of all by way of a cruel Roman cross, followed by the resurrection and the ascension.
Over and over again we were told how the religious leaders plotted the death of Jesus Christ. These religious leaders are a good example of how insecurity, fear, and mean-spirited competition can lead people to despicable actions. These religious leaders were like many of the religious leaders today: manipulative and calculating. They wanted very badly to put Jesus to death to eliminate their competition, but they only wanted to do it in a situation that would limit the risk to themselves. That’s why they said concerning putting Jesus to death, “Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.”
We are now in
the last week of the life of Christ, and it’s not by accident that in the same
week was the feast of the Passover. You remember what the Passover is all
about. When God delivered the children of
Strange that the disciples did not understand that Jesus was heading to His death, even though He told them clearly many times. But there were a few believers who did understand. The story of one such believer is recorded in Mark 14:3-9 that says, “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble you her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For you have the poor with you always, and whensoever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always. She has done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
Sometimes those whom God honors are not the same as those whom man honors, even in organized religion. Man usually honors someone who stands before a crowd and preaches the gospel and attracts attention to himself. But sometimes those who preach the gospel do not live it. God knows who those are, but man does not. This woman who was criticized and looked down upon by the others actually had the greatest spiritual understanding, was the closest to Christ, and had the greatest love and appreciation for Him. Oh how things will be changed at the judgment, when the secrets of the heart will be manifest and the true rewards will be given according to what God knows about each individual.
This woman was criticized because she gave her gift to Jesus instead of giving it to the poor. Jesus rejected the criticism of her; saying, “The poor you have with you always.” Jesus knew that those who criticized were not genuinely concerned about the poor. If they were, they would have given of their own substance and their own time and effort to help the poor like Jane Addams did when she became concerned for the less fortunate on this earth. Jesus, defending this woman, upholds the principle of self-determination. You have every right to determine what you do with the material substance that God has placed into your hands, but you have no right whatsoever to determine what anyone else does with theirs. The basic principle for New Testament giving is as follows from Second Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.” Jesus cared about the poor. In the
Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the
It’s possible that one of the things that motivated Judas was the desire to be rich, and once he realized that it was not going to happen as one of Jesus’ disciples, that it was then that Judas decided to betray Jesus. “For the love of money is the root of all evil,” the Bible says in First Timothy 6:10. Mark 14:10-11 says, “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.” The religious leaders had been planning to put Jesus to death for some time, and now finally, thanks to Judas, they had the ammunition that they needed to go through with their plan. Strange, is it not? As wicked as these wicked people of the world were, they were not able to go through with their plans until someone who was supposed to be a believer joined in with them. Do not blame the wickedness of the world completely on the wicked people. In our day how many professing believers have sold themselves for a few pieces of silver and gone along with the way of the world?
Thanks to Judas, everything was now in motion. Following the betrayal would be the arrest, the false testimony, the torture, and the crucifixion of Christ. But human beings would be held responsible for their actions. That is why Jesus said later in this chapter in verse twenty-one, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born.” The Almighty power of God is so all-encompassing that even when men of free will use their free will to do cowardly and horrible acts, somehow God uses those actions to ultimately fit into the plan of God and to ultimately bring praise to God. That’s why Romans can say so boldly, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and to them that are the called according to His purposes.”
As the religious leaders went into the final plans for the death of Christ, Jesus made His final plans for how He would teach the disciples what it would all really be about. It was not about deceitful, fearful, and jealous men turning to murderous and cowardly actions to protect their rank and position. NO. It was all about the plan of God and the love of God for sinful mankind. Jesus came into the world to die for sinners. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible says in Mark 14:12-16, “And the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover? And He sent forth two of His disciples and said unto them, Go into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say you to the Goodman of the house, The Master says, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.”
One of the key phrases in this passage is the words, “When they killed the Passover.” It was all about an innocent creature being put to death. You could not have the blessings of the meal without the death of the animal. You could not have the Passover without the blood. Don’t forget the blood. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.” “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” Jesus shed His blood so that you and I could be forgiven of our sins and so that the wrath of God would Passover us. The death that Jesus endured for our sakes was a bloody death. His body must have been covered with blood: the crown of thorns pressed into His brow, the buffeting of His face, the cat-of-nine tales ripping into His back, the piercing of the hands and the feet, and the spear that was thrust into His side. Jesus was our Passover, and Jesus would use this last Passover meal both as the last meal of a condemned man and as a great object lesson to teach all of us what the Passover meal was really all about.
A special room was prepared for Jesus and His disciples in order that the Last Supper could take place. Evidently the person who allowed this room to be prepared and used by Jesus was a rich man. Only a rich person would have a large guest chamber that could be fully furnished and prepared for a group of thirteen grown men. Evidently the person who had fetched the water and who the disciples followed was a servant of the rich man. The rich man’s name is not given and the rich man himself is not even mentioned in the passage. That’s how the work gets done in this world. Jesus the teacher was there with His disciples in a bountiful setting, but the man who was responsible for making that setting possible is unknown to us. He was content to do his part and then to remain in the background. He was the kind of person who only needed to know one thing: what did the Master wish him to do? Some can preach and teach, and others can do the more practical things. United under the Master’s direction, they will accomplish far more than if they go their separate ways.
The Bible says in Mark 14:17-21, “And in the evening he comes with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eats with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? And another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dips with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born.” It’s important to note that of the twelve disciples, when Jesus said that one would betray Him, each of them immediately wondered if they would be the traitor. That means that they saw nothing suspicious in Judas, but when they looked into their own hearts they did see something suspicious. They saw the capacity for wrong-doing within their own hearts. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that they were chosen to be among the twelve. The greatest sinners make the greatest saints. If you are going to live by faith in Jesus, the friend of sinners, then you must become aware of your own sinfulness and capacity to do wrong. It’s only by the grace of God that you can do anything that you are supposed to do. If you rely upon your own goodness, you will not be a servant of the one true God. You will be a self-righteous, self-willed religious hypocrite. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “There is none good, no not one.” By the power of the Holy Spirit you can come to know the sinfulness of your nature, and you can turn to Him for forgiveness of your sins. If you do that, you need never rely upon your own goodness again, but only rely upon Jesus and His grace and mercy.
Copyright; 2003 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved